The Mystery of Seven

We’re always hearing about things that come in sevens: Sinbad sailed the Seven Seas, the Pleiades is a constellation of seven stars, also known as the Seven Sisters; when we are ecstatic we are in Seventh Heaven; Jacob worked for his evil father-in law for seven years to pay for Rachel, but got Leah instead, then had to work another seven for Rachel again.  And don’t forget the Seven Dwarves!   And for some reason or other, there are Seven days in a week.  Who thought that up???  Why not eight, nine, or ten???  I mean, there’s no law that says there have to be seven days in a week, is there?  Seems strange.

In Inner Torah Judaism, there are Seven layers of Heaven.  There are also Seven levels of Hell!  And you have to go through each one of them, getting your soul cleaned out like a giant washing machine.  No thanks.

So what’s the big deal with the number Seven?

Imagine this:

A cube.  It has four sides all around, one on the top, and one on the bottom.  That makes six sides.  Hold that thought.

If you have a cube, then it must contain something, right?  What does it contain?  Wood?  Plastic?  Air?  Who cares?  It contains the seventh element.  The seventh element is The Inner Space.  Or if you prefer, the seventh element of a cube could be a point in the center of the cube.   The Six is on the Outside, and the Seven is on the Inside.

Now let’s return to Six.  What has six?  A week has six.  “Sheshit yamim ta’avod ve’ta’aseh kol melachechah….”  Six days you will work and do all the things you have to do….”  A Hebrew week has six days.  The work week starts on Saturday night (yup!) and goes until just before sundown on Friday evening.  At that point, in an Orthodox Jewish home, every kind of work stops: no cooking, cleaning, yard work, painting, no kindling of fires of any sort including the use of electricity (lights go on timers), no TV, video games, music, iPhone, iPad, iAnything.  No driving, horseback riding, cattle rustling or rounding up bison on ATVs.

It is the Seventh Day.

Va’yachulu ha’shamayim ve’ha’aretz ve’kol tzeva’am

And the Heavens and the Earth were finished, and all of their hosts

Va’ya’chal Elo-him ba’yom ha’shevi’i melachto asher asah

And G-d finished making the labors that He made

Va’yishbot Elo-him ba’yom ha’shevi’i mi kol melachto asher asah

And G-d rested on the Seventh Day from all the labors that He made

Va’yevorech Elo-him et yom hashevi’i va’yekadesh otoh

And G-d blessed the Seventh Day and separated it

Ki voh shavat mi’kol melachto asher bara Elo-him la’asot

For He rested upon It from all the works that He created to do.

What is the secret of Seven?  It is the Sabbath.  As we are created in the image of G-d, so do we follow His example.  If G-d rested on the Seventh Day, it makes a lot of sense that we should too.  It’s a time of pulling back, introspection, recharging of batteries.  It’s a time of celebration, eating and drinking, singing songs and telling stories, hanging out with family and friends, traveling (before Shabbat) to other families to share in their Shabbat.  It’s a complete separation from the workweek and all of the things that one does during the week.

In Hebrew, the days start on the evening before.  They are called First Day, Second Day, etc., until we get to the Seventh Day, which is called Shabbat.  Why do we call it Shabbat?  Because it’s derived from a Hebrew word “to rest.”  It’s in the text above: “Ki voh shavat mi kol…” “For on It He rested from all…”  In fact, if you look closely and listen with soft eyes to the word “shavat” you will hear the Hebrew word “shevah,” Seven.  Shevah.  Seven.  Hmmmm.

Speaking of the text above: what is it and why did I write it here?

It’s a part of the prayer that’s sung at the Shabbat dinner table in the evening, sung standing, holding a full cup of wine.  It’s a prayer that celebrates entering sacred space, where we will remain for 25 hours before being spit back out into the world.  It’s the heralding of a haven: an island in time.  The Seventh Day.

In Kabbalistic space-time, it also heralds the Messianic Era, which is known as The Great Shabbat.  In it, we will no longer know war, strife, hunger, or suffer any of the evils of our present world.  We will be able to turn our attention to eating, drinking, singing, dancing, studying delicious Sacred texts, and who knows what because we haven’t been there yet: but–we get a taste of it on Shabbat.

Six days of the week, like the sides of our cube, are openly visible, without any secrets.  The Seventh Day, the Shabbat, is laden with secrets.

The Seventh Day, the Shabbat, is the Inner aspect of the week.  In it hide the secrets of the Great Shabbat, and true liberation!

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22 Comments

  1. savemefrombpd

     /  January 8, 2014

    Beautiful and interesting post! Yashar koach!

    I’m always happy to learn from you. I have knowledge too, but there’s never an end to learning, as we know, it’s a lifelong thing!

    I have my book of psalms with me in hospital and I’m reading it slowly slowly. But it’s so interesting and I can relate to what is written and expressed there.

    Keep up the great work L!

    Reply
  2. I have never heard the image of the cube andthe space inside before this. Thank you!

    Reply
  3. I love this!! (You know I was going to say that, right?!? HA!!) I love the example of the cube — never thought of it having a seventh anything.

    Simplistically, we were told that 7 is the number of God and 6 is the number of man — 7 being holy and 6 not so much, which is part of the why behind the 666 in the book of Revelation. I love numbers and how certain numbers turn up in people’s lives over and over again. I love how they turn up in the Bible over and over again, like 12 for example or 40. If I was not a follower of Jesus, I just know I’d be big into numerology. My belief says one or the other, yet I cannot help but be fascinated by numbers.

    For example: the last two digits of the year in which I was born, when transposed, become the last two digits of the year in which I graduated high school. Yet numbers that others would call “lucky,” which I don’t believe in, seem to appear in my life differently from the two I just mentioned. 57/75 . . . . 2, 4 and sometimes 8, which is of course 2 x 4. Very weird. Definitely interesting!!

    Thank you again for continuing this series!! I love it!!

    I do hope you are well now!!
    Love,
    Kathy

    Reply
    • Kathy, 7 is the number of “kodesh” which means “holy” or “set apart,” which is the Sabbath. 6 is the number of “chol” or “usual,” and refers to the six work weeks. By extension you can say that 7 refers to Sacred and 6 refers to “regular,” which can apply to G-d and Man.

      666, if you add all the 6’s, comes to 18, which is the word “chai,” which means “life” in Hebrew. I never believed in any “evil” 666 anyway.

      Gematria, the science of equivalences between the numerical value of words/letters and numbers, is different from numerology, which is more associated with magic than Godliness.

      I am better now, thank you, but dealing with post-viral asthma…was up all night last night with it, and now have to drive two hours to Asheville for a very full day….wheeze….

      Reply
  4. Laura, I’m really enjoying these thought provoking posts that, for me, speak to introspection. I tend to leave god out of it, as I’m an atheist, but for me, there is more to learn regarding how we perceive things (for me, without a god) – and using those things to guide balance in our lives. I just adore what you’re doing here.

    Reply
    • Thank you! I myself do not anthropomorphize God, but think of him/her/it as a thought-form that precedes and gives rise to the physical forms that are the “legs,” if you will, to the formless One. Glad you’re having fun with it!

      Reply
  5. Laura, the origin of 7 days a week is much older than Judaism – the most widely accepted view is that there were 7 moving/wandering/”planetary” lights in the sky visible to the human eye, the 5 nearest planets, plus the moon (Monday) and the sun (Sunday). Have a read of http://www.hermetic.ch/cal_stud/hlwc/why_seven.htm for more details.
    However, we all share the wonders of the Universe, whatever our faith/religion or none.

    Reply
  6. I love the cube analogy! BTW I am not getting you in my reader. I was going to unfollow and refollow to see if that resets it. Otherwise I have to hunt your blog up to read your posts!

    Reply
    • Thanks–the cube analogy is a classic example of the inner aspect of seven, which is the Sabbath and all of its hidden secrets. I can’t explain your follow issues–it’s a mystery. Did you try the “email option” in the sidebar, or the “follow this blog” option at the top left of the page, or both? I’d really appreciate knowing if the sidebar widget is broken, because that would mean you’re not the only one (which would make you feel less special, I know, but we do know how special you are, so that’s settled :-D). Let me know! You still have my moxadox email, right?

      Reply
      • I have you followed with both but you don’t come up on email. I am going to re-try. I tried once today but WP was not cooperating at all and refused to acknowledge that you existed when I put in the URL for your blog. I have your email at work but not from my home account. I will let you know!

        Reply
        • bizzarre. I will test my widget from this end. Nobody else has told me they can’t get my posts, but then, if they’re not getting my posts, they don’t know about them, do they??? At any rate, I really appreciate the fact that you actually WANT to read my stuff, and are going to such lengths to find me. Thank you so much for caring! I sure care about you, too ❤

          Reply
  7. PsiFiGal

     /  January 15, 2014

    As usual your posts/lessons are fascinating. I also love the analogy of the cube, but let me be contrary Mary for a moment, have you considered the inside surfaces of the empty cube? Six sides on the outside plus six on the inside makes 12, then add the space inside and you get 13. I don’t know if that means anything or if It’s just another way of looking at it that doesn’t have any relevance to this subject. I knew a little bit about Shabbat from reading Patricia Cornwall’s books of all places, but it was good to learn more about it, thank you.

    Reply
    • Oh that’s a wonderful insight! And it has real meaning. You are a natural at gematria!
      Thirteen just happens to be the numerical value of “ahavah”= love, and also “echad”=one. Put those two thirteens together and you get 26, which is the value of the Four Letter Ineffable Name Y-H-V-H. Bingo! I have to pass this on to my teachers. Your way of looking at things is special and visionary. Keep it up!

      Reply
      • PsiFiGal

         /  January 15, 2014

        Wow Laura, I had to google gematria hehehe. I don’t know if I’m all that special but it’s nice of you to say. I have always had a different way of looking at things. My family and friends have commented on it. I’m glad that you have found meaning in my observation 🙂

        Reply
  8. The image of the cube and the space inside is a totally new concept to me. But it was interesting! We expect to see more interesting articles like this!

    Reply

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